Bucks 11+ Fiasco: "Parents have recourse to take legal action against GL assessments"
The Parental Alliance for Choice in Education (PACE) has suggested that parents of children who took the 11+ exam may be able to take legal action against GL Assessments, Bucks County Council and The Bucks Grammar Schools if their children fail to land a coveted grammar school place.
The group has claimed the results of the 11+ are ‘devoid of validity’, slamming this year’s ‘botched test’.
The statement from the group said: “All Buckinghamshire parents need to know that their child has been most likely misclassified in this years botched test, and the flawed exam results offered by GL Assessment are devoid of validity.”
This years fiasco is not the first time GL Assessments have been under fire for their 11+ testing.
In 2018, an investigation was launched into Bucks’ 11-Plus exams, after a technical blunder saw some pupils allocated more time for the test than others.
This year children across the county were presented with ‘unanswerable’ questions, as the answer sheet did not correspond with the questions being asked.
This caused widespread anger and anxiety across the county from parents and their children who were taking the test.
Despite this, GL assessments claim that the results will still be ‘fair’. However PACE rebutted this, saying: “GL Assessments has sent three very carefully worded letters (13th, September 20th September, and October 1st) to the TBGS parents seeking to pacify and reassure them.
“In all three of these letters the word validity, a technical term for an essential property of any high stakes test, is not used or referred to once.
“This is a deliberate act of misdirection, GL’s own promotional literature highlights the essential requirement of validity in testing in its very first paragraph.
“By proceeding to select who may attend a grammar school next year using the results issued by GL Assessments, some children entitled to a place but misclassified by this invalid test will be turned away. Parents with fundamental concerns about this have no recourse except to the law.”
PACE has also questioned GL Assessments ‘validity’, as they have said errors in the 11+ examination can no longer place children in a ‘rank order’, which is a key aspect of any ‘high stakes test’.
They said: “The most important step in establishing test validity is to confirm that the test can place children in a rank order. The established way of confirming a rank order is to carry out a Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) which has two outputs: (i) a diagram connecting the test measures to a single construct; and (ii) three important statistical measures.
“These are the “adjusted goodness of fit index” (AGFI); the “root mean squared residual” (RMR); and the “chi-squared/degrees of freedom” index.
“If any of these three statistics are impacted adversely by the GL errors and it is likely they were, the all-important ability of the test to rank order pupils for selection is compromised.”
The Bucks Herald has asked to see the original Confirmatory Factor Analysis diagram and the diagram after the incorrect questions were removed.
PACE added: “Parents surely have the right to see the original CFA diagram and the CFA diagram after the offending items were removed. GL should also report the three statistics cited above for the original test and for the test with the items removed.
“PACE is calling for, on behalf of TBGS test takers, their right to access the information which will flow via a request to GL Assessments to provide and publish, as a matter of urgency, the original CFA diagram and the CFA diagram after the offending items were removed.
"The three statistics cited above for the original test and for the test with the items and subsequent questions removed must also be provided. This information is vital for all 2019 TBGS 11-plus test takers to establish their position in the rank order of results and to avoid claims of misclassification.”
A spokesman for GL Assesments, said: “As highlighted in our letter to parents earlier this month, we conducted a detailed statistical analysis of this year’s test, which found that the test remains highly reliable in selecting pupils for entry to grammar schools.
"This analysis was independently verified, and the independent statistician also verified that the performance of the test is well above the accepted conventions for admissions tests.”